Being Effectively Greener
Homes which are eco-friendly is trending nowadays in Chennai and there are many apartments in Perumbakkam, Velachery, OMR and ECR which are certified green homes. Eco-friendliness and saving of renewable energies have been widely adopted by people but even though the alternative ways of living have been largely discussed by people, implementing this has been difficult. A few ways of making Chennai a healthier city are given below.
Air is the primary affected resource in the city with the increase in number of cars and other automobiles. One of the easy ways of reducing the air pollution caused by vehicles is through usage of public transportation. This can also reduce pollution, since car travel generates about 0.13 kg of carbon dioxide per km per person. Linking transportation with land-use planning is essential to reduce long commutes between residential areas and places of work. Bus Rapid Transport Systems or the Metro Rail can improve the situation, but only if there is a seamless connection between the different modes of transport.
A combination of densification with concrete buildings and cutting off trees on site has led to a gradual rise in temperatures and heat islands. It’s a vicious cycle that generates the need for air conditioning, and hence more carbon emissions. A broader planning strategy to create well-planned, connected nodes in Oragadam, Chengalpattu and Sriperumbudur could distribute the congestion.
Increased Tree Cover and Water Recycling
There is no mandatory rule for growing trees in Chennai but this has to be brought in so that there is better tree cover in the city which will help in reducing the heat and preventing increase in temperature of the city. The Corporation could create a ‘Tree Authority’ to enforce clear guidelines and stop tree-felling as well as to create tree plantation schemes, involving schools and universities. A reduction in tree cover can have several fallouts such as depletion of groundwater, heated micro-climate, and increased electricity consumption for air conditioning. This has a cyclical impact on air pollution and load shedding.
Rapid growth comes with unplanned problems, like lakes and reservoirs being filled up, and buildings on low-lying lands. This eventually leads to water scarcity, as construction impacts groundwater aquifers. Thus, water recycling should be made mandatory for large housing projects, since they consume large quantities of water. Using treated water for industrial purposes can reduce the demand for water. Recycled water can be used for urban horticulture and civic green areas, reducing the need to indiscriminately draw from groundwater sources.